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Topic: Not sure where to post this, but I want some opinions  (Read 1282 times)

Offline chapmanpiano

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     Hello. I have played piano for a number of years off and on with no teacher. My biggest problem has always been motivation. I really, really enjoy a piece, so I decide to learn it. I jump into it, sometimes from the beginning, sometimes from the middle, and I usually make a ton a progress with it the first practice session. Then days will go by and I will tell myself, "oh, not today". That continues indefinitely for most pieces, until I get motivation to start another one. My latest entry in this is Chopin's Ballade no. 1, which I adore. This is the most difficult piece that I have attempted, and at my current level I do not think I could play it well, once learned. To my surprise, I am making great progress with it, though it would take much longer than my average piece to "master". Sorry, that is not the point of this post.
      The point is, I have so many pieces I want to learn, and I really want to get better at the piano so that one day I can sit down and be satisfied with my skill level and repertoire. The problem is, I struggle and struggle and struggle with finding the motivation to continue. Yes, I know a teacher would be quite helpful for this problem, as they would force me to progress by certain deadlines and whatnot set forth. However, as a student that works, I have no time nor money for a teacher. I am worried though, that soon I might just put piano on hold for a few years, which I really think would be bad for me overall.
      I do not want the youth of my life to pass without piano, as I truly love it. Or do I? Considering I never want to bring myself to play and learn much, I guess I don't know. I am sure others in the forum have experienced similar feelings. What are your thoughts?
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Offline brogers70

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Re: Not sure where to post this, but I want some opinions
Reply #1 on: June 19, 2016, 10:38:11 AM
I'm only guessing here. It sounds like you tackle big, well-known pieces; your enthusiasm for them propels you to make pretty good initial progress, and that's sort of satisfying. But I'm guessing that by the time you stop, something inside is saying something like "Damn, that was fun, but it's gonna take an awful lot of work to really finish it." That gets discouraging, and the motivation wanes. That happens many times and you get into a pattern of feeling like you can never finish anything, so once the initial burst of enthusiasm dies away, it's hard to get motivated to continue.

My suggestion is that you try to find shorter, easier pieces that motivate you musically. Unless your previous motivation has all come from a desire to thunder out big virtuoso pieces, then you should be able to find some beautiful pieces that you love and that you can actually work up to a good standard in a relatively short time. Hopefully, the satisfaction of getting pieces solid will build up your motivation for regular practice over time.

Also, just listen to lots of music, other than the big virtuoso monsters of the piano repertoire. Just enjoy it. That should keep the motivation going, too.

Offline pjjslp

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Re: Not sure where to post this, but I want some opinions
Reply #2 on: June 19, 2016, 02:42:17 PM
I'm only guessing here. It sounds like you tackle big, well-known pieces; your enthusiasm for them propels you to make pretty good initial progress, and that's sort of satisfying. But I'm guessing that by the time you stop, something inside is saying something like "Damn, that was fun, but it's gonna take an awful lot of work to really finish it." That gets discouraging, and the motivation wanes. That happens many times and you get into a pattern of feeling like you can never finish anything, so once the initial burst of enthusiasm dies away, it's hard to get motivated to continue.

My suggestion is that you try to find shorter, easier pieces that motivate you musically. Unless your previous motivation has all come from a desire to thunder out big virtuoso pieces, then you should be able to find some beautiful pieces that you love and that you can actually work up to a good standard in a relatively short time. Hopefully, the satisfaction of getting pieces solid will build up your motivation for regular practice over time.

Also, just listen to lots of music, other than the big virtuoso monsters of the piano repertoire. Just enjoy it. That should keep the motivation going, too.

I think this is excellent advice! Honestly, I am motivated by those big, well known pieces as well, but definitely have a hard time getting them more than 90% mastered. I think I need a teacher to help me polish them, but like you, time and money are lacking right now.

What I am doing and you may want to consider, is working on a mix of the big pieces and a smaller, less difficult piece or two. This gives a balance of those huge familiar pieces that you love along with some pieces you can really master and play well and confidently. Truly, making my piano sing keeps me going and keeps me from getting discouraged, but I'm not going to stop tackling pieces at the limits of my ability that I have grown up wanting to play "someday."

Offline xdjuicebox

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Re: Not sure where to post this, but I want some opinions
Reply #3 on: June 20, 2016, 01:18:56 PM
Do you have a pre-determined plan?

Usually lack of motivation comes from bad project management and poor planning, as well as unrealistic expectations.

Be realistic. How long will it take you to reasonably learn this piece?
Then plan it out.

Also, get better at learning. Study theory, and analyze the music. Study the choreography of the hands and how the composer took advantage of the piano and listen to the piece at least once a day, a different recording each time.

I am trying to become Franz Liszt. Trying. And failing.

Offline bernadette60614

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Re: Not sure where to post this, but I want some opinions
Reply #4 on: June 22, 2016, 09:29:08 PM
Just my opinion based upon my experience:

.  I find that motivation isn't very reliable.  For me, habit is a much better approach.  I have worked out for one hour a day 6 days a week for the last 25 years.  Initially, I set the goal of just going to the gym each day. Then, doing 30 minutes at a time, in the last 10 years, doing a full hour.  Once I got into the habit of going to the gym, it became easier to start.  Simlarly, with the piano, I make it a point to sit down at the piano every day (just about this time!)..and to just play something. For me, it is easiest to start with pieces which are fairly polished.  It reinforces to me that I can finish something well.

My advice then:  Find a time every single day without fail to sit down and just play.  Once that becomes a habit, then begin working on specific goals.  Processing practicing this way, I can no more miss a day of practice than I can miss brushing my teeth.
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